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Implantable Contact Lenses

If you dislike wearing glasses and you are not a suitable candidate for laser eye surgery, then implantable contact lenses (ICL’s) may offer the permanent vision correction solution that you require.
 

How do implantable contact lenses work?

Implantable contact lenses basically work in exactly the same way as standard, external contact lenses do. ICL’s alter the shape of the cornea in order to correct refractive errors such as near and far-sightedness, and astigmatism. However, unlike non-permanent contact lenses, ICL’s are surgically placed inside the eye rather than over the top of it. 
Implantable contact lenses are also sometimes known as phakic intraocular lenses (IOL’s). The reason for this is because the two share a number of characteristics. IOL’s are seen in cataract surgery where they take the place of the affected natural lens after it has been removed. However, when used as implantable contact lenses they work in conjunction with the natural lens of the eye in order to correct your vision.
 

What happens during the procedure?

The procedure requires your surgeon to make a tiny incision into the cornea to allow access to the natural lens underneath. The ICL is then inserted through the incision and placed either in front of or behind the iris which is the colored part of your eye and in front of the natural lens. The incision into the cornea is able to heal naturally without stitches, and the entire process is extremely quick.
 

Will it hurt?

Your surgeon will give you anesthetic, usually in the form of eye drops, ahead of the procedure and therefore you should experience very little, if any, discomfort.


Eye Emergencies

Eye emergencies cover a range of incidents and conditions such as; trauma, cuts, scratches, foreign objects in the eye, burns, chemical exposure, photic retinopathy, and blunt injuries to the eye or eyelid. Since the eye is easily damaged, serious complications can occur from an eye injury thus, any of these conditions without proper treatment can lead to a partial loss of vision or even permanent blindness. Likewise, certain eye infections, other medical conditions, such as blood clots or glaucoma, and eye problems such as a painful red eye or vision loss that are not due to injury also need urgent medical attention.
 

Depending on the type of injury, any of the following symptoms may be present:

  • Bleeding or other discharge from or around the eye

  • Bruising

  • Decreased vision

  • Double vision

  • Loss of vision, total or partial, in one eye or both

  • Pupils of unequal size

  • Eye pain

  • New or severe headaches

  • Itchy eyes

  • Redness or bloodshot appearance

  • A sensation of something in the eye

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Stinging or burning in the eye

  • One eye is not moving like the other

  • One eye is sticking out or bulging

  • Nausea or headache occurring with eye pain (this may be a symptom of glaucoma or stroke).


A black eye is usually caused by direct trauma to the eye or face, causing a bruise resulting from bleeding under the skin. The skin around the eye turns black and blue, gradually becoming purple, green, and yellow over several days. Swelling of the eyelid and tissues around the eye may also occur. The abnormal color usually disappears within 2 weeks.

A blow to the eye can potentially damage the inside of the eye. Trauma is also a common cause of hyphemia, which is blood inside the front of the eye and is often due to a direct hit to the eye from a ball. Besides, certain types of skull fractures can cause bruising around the eyes, even without direct injury to the eye.

A chemical injury to the eye can be caused by a work-related accident, common household products such as cleaning solutions, garden chemicals, solvents, or other types of chemicals. Fumes and aerosols can also cause chemical burns. With acid burns, the haze on the cornea often clears and there is a good chance of recovery. However, alkaline substances such as lime, lye, drain cleaners, and sodium hydroxide found in refrigeration equipment may cause permanent damage to the cornea. It is important to flush out the eye with large amounts of clean water or salt water (saline).


Cataracts

If you’ve been diagnosed with cataracts, you may wonder if cataract surgery is right around the corner. Not to worry. There are many preventive steps you can take to slow the progression of cataracts and preserve your vision. That doesn’t mean you won’t eventually need surgery, but you can at least delay the need for quite a while.
 

Protect Your Eyes from the Sun

The National Eye Institute recommends protecting your eyes from the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) and high-energy visible (HEV) rays by always wearing good quality sunglasses while outdoors. Look for sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV rays and absorb most HEV rays with large lenses or a close-fitting wraparound style. Remember that the peak hours for sun exposure are between 10 am and 3 pm or 11 am and 4 pm during daylight savings time and that the sun’s rays are strong enough to pass through clouds, so you need your sunglasses every day.
 

Avoid Steroid Eye Drops

Steroid eye drops are routinely prescribed to treat dry eyes or an arthritic flare-up in the eyes. Unfortunately, they can also speed up the progression of cataracts. Talk to your Optometrist about how you can manage both conditions without inadvertently making your cataracts worse – and hastening the need for surgery.
 

Check Your Medications

There are over 300 commonly prescribed medications with side effects that may impact cataract progression. Since your primary care physician may not have access to your eye doctor’s medical records, be sure to ask your doctor if your current medications will affect your cataracts. If you must stay on the medication, it’s even more important to avoid sunlight during peak hours and to wear sunglasses.


Glaucoma Testing

You might be surprised at how many tests eye doctors use to diagnose glaucoma. A proper diagnosis requires careful evaluation of many aspects of your eye’s health – from eye pressure to cornea thickness to the health of your optic nerve. This article describes how your eye doctor assesses your risk and all the tests needed to properly diagnose glaucoma.
 

Risk Factor Assessment

Your eye doctor will begin by assessing your risk level for developing glaucoma. This will help determine the frequency and extent of testing needed. Through a family history and medical questionnaire, the eye doctor is looking for the following risk factors:
 

  • Over the age of 60

  • Ethnic background such as African or black Caribbean descent, Hispanic, or Asian

  • Family history of glaucoma, such as a sibling or parent with glaucoma

  • History of eye conditions, injuries or surgeries

  • Prolonged corticosteroid use (eye drops, pills, inhalers or creams)

  • Chronic conditions that affect blood flow, such as migraines, diabetes, low blood
    pressure or hypertension

  • Current or former smoker
     

If you’ve already had a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor will also consider these risk factors:
 

  • Eye pressure higher than normal (above 21 mm Hg)

  • Thin corneas (less than 0.5 millimeters)
     

Your type of eyesight is also important. People with farsightedness are at a higher risk for narrow-angle glaucoma, a more serious type that can advance quickly. While nearsightedness is associated with open-angle glaucoma, which progresses slowly without any symptoms.
 

Standard Glaucoma Tests

During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor will always check for glaucoma, regardless of the risk level. This provides a baseline for comparison as you age. There are two tests: tonometry and ophthalmoscopy.
 


Common Eye Disorders Explained

People will often experience some type of eye disorder during the course of their lives. While the majority of these are minor and don’t require treatment, even minor problems can have significant adverse impacts on your vision, and you should seek the guidance of a licensed medical professional.

We’ve compiled some of the most common eye disorders, their causes, and treatments below. This guide is meant to be educational and not all of the disorders listed below require medical attention, but if you are concerned, you should contact your medical provider immediately.
 

Eyestrain

Eyestrain is a prevalent eye disorder. Most people have experienced this at one time or another. This optical issue can be caused by placing excessive strain on the eyes. It often occurs when reading, viewing a screen or driving for too long. The eyes may begin to feel tired, or a mild burning sensation can occur. Simple rest is often enough to correct this issue. However, if you continue to feel discomfort for a few days, its time to visit your doctor.
 

Eye Redness

Eye redness can often be a minor issue that is caused by the inflammation or irritation of blood vessels near the eye’s surface. This can be caused by an irritant, lack of sleep, or allergies. If the redness in your eyes is linked to some type of traumatic injury, you should see a doctor. Typical treatments for this condition are eye drops to help lubricate the eye, resting your eyes, or taking medication to treat your allergies. Eye redness can also be a warning sign for conjunctivitis, pink eye, or sun damage. These conditions should receive medical treatment from a licensed professional.
 

Night Blindness

Some people find that they have difficulty navigating in darker areas like movie theaters, dark rooms, or driving at night. Several possibilities could lead to night blindness. Some may have been born with this condition, or it could be the result of a degenerative retina. These issues cannot be resolved by a medical professional. However, night blindness can also be caused by nearsightedness, vitamin A deficiency, cataracts, or keratoconus. All of these issues can be corrected by a doctor.
 

Strabismus (Crossed Eyes)

Crossed eyes are not a condition that you can fix by yourself. This issue is seen in the eyes not properly lining up with each other. However, an optometrist may be able to help correct this issue, so it’s worth scheduling an appointment.

 

Nystagmus (Shaky Eyes)

Nystagmus is the constant shaking of the eyes of which the patient has no ability to control it. Medical professionals have several options for treatment at their disposal. Sometimes vision therapy is enough to strengthen the muscles and correct the issue. If this doesn’t work, surgery can also correct the problem. Your doctor can discuss your best options with you.
 

Colorblindness

Red and green color blindness is the most common form of colorblindness, although other types may affect your ability to see different color combinations. Color blindness is caused because the eyes lack the appropriate “cones” that help to interpret and differentiate these colors. This makes certain colors appear identical to colorblind individuals. Very severe forms of colorblindness only allow individuals to see shades of gray, but this is very rare.

While there is no current treatment for the correction of color blindness, special contact lenses or eyeglasses can be prescribed to help.
 

Uveitis

This condition is the inflammation of the uvea. There are several potential causes of uveitis that can be very serious, but uveitis is an umbrella phrase that covers all causes that create inflammation of the middle layer of the eye.

Some of these causes can be compromises of the immune system, like AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, or ulcerative colitis. If you have light sensitivity, blurred vision, eye pain, and eye redness that lasts more than a few days you should see your eye care professional.
 

Knowing When to Get Help

Your eyes are a sensitive and critical organ for your health and small injuries or damage to your eyes can have lasting effects. For this reason, if you sense that something is wrong with your eyes, it’s always a good idea to visit your eye care professional. Additionally, make sure to get your regular annual eye exams which can help detect any issues that your eyes may be having and assure that you get the appropriate care more quickly.


Seasonal Allergies And The Eyes

Seasonal allergies is a medical condition similar to other forms of allergies that occur when the body's immune system reacts to an external material in the environment during seasonal periods when plants and trees are pollinating. Seasonal allergies have a tremendous effect on millions of individuals annually causing a negative effect on eyesight. Seasonal eye allergies cause the eyes to become itchy, watery and red which in medical terms is referred to as allergic conjunctivitis. There are many allergens that can make our eyes go itchy and very red including dust, pollen, and smoke. These allergens, however, vary from one person to another. For example, while dust can cause itchy eyes for me, it might not be the same for you as it all depends on our immune system and the way it reacts against such substances.

When something is regarded as a dangerous substance by the eye, a chemical response is elicited to fight against the allergen which is what leads to the itchiness, redness, and soreness in the eyes. These reactions are usually a result of a change in seasons, mostly occurring in the spring when plants and trees are pollinating and during the fall when the ragweed plants are pollinating.
 

Seasonal Allergies Effect on the Eyes

As we mentioned earlier, allergens affect people differently, but there are general ways in which everyone reacts. You would know an individual is suffering from allergies through the following symptoms.

  • Teary eyes
    Since the eyes perceive substances like dust, smoke, pollens as harmful to the normal conditioning of the eyes, there is an automatic release of water in order to clean the eyes which is more of a defense mechanism against these foreign items.

  • Swollen eyes
    After the entry of these foreign items, it is very natural to feel itchy and want to scratch the affected eyes. During the scratching, the skin covering the eyes would become swollen due to continuous friction.

  • Dry eyes
    Dry eyes occur most times during winter seasons, not because of allergens like dust or pollen, but whenever there is extreme cold or snow. This causes the eyes to become dry which leads to soreness and redness.

  • Itchy Eyes
    Allergens are carried by air and could end up in your eyes at any time. A reaction to these allergens would cause your eyes to feel irritated from the inside and would create the urge to then scratch your eyes in an attempt to provide some relief.

  • Red Eyes
    Redness of the eyes is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as itchy eyes which cause the eyes to become swollen and very red. There are also capillaries inside the eyes that can become red whenever one is faced with an allergy.
     

Prevention

It is nearly impossible to prevent allergens due to the fact that they are carried around by air. There are, however, some things that can be done by you to help reduce your chances of being exposed to allergens. One of the first precautions is to remain indoors on windy days since more allergens are carried around at a faster pace. If it is necessary to go out, be sure to wear a pair of sunglasses that provide adequate coverage for the eyes. Furthermore, wearing pollen masks and/or sunglasses when working in the yard could help to prevent anything from blowing into your eyes.
 

Treatment

Whenever you are suffering from allergies, be sure to stay hydrated, use any doctor recommended eye drops you may have to help reduce irritation, and if you use contact lenses, switch to a pair of glasses to add some extra protection as well as prevent further eye discomfort. Lastly, try to avoid scratching your eyes as much as possible to prevent any additional complications.


Dry Eye Treatment

While dry eye isn’t a serious condition, it can have a major impact on your quality of life. You may find your eyes get tired faster or you have difficulty reading. Not to mention the discomfort of a burning sensation or blurry vision. Let’s take a look at dry eye treatments – from simple self-care to innovative prescriptions and therapies – to help you see clearly and comfortably.
 

What is Dry Eye?

Understanding dry eye will help you determine the best treatment option. Dry eye occurs when a person doesn't have enough quality tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Tears reduce eye infections, wash away foreign matter, and keep the eye’s surface smooth and clear. People with dry eyes either do not produce enough tears or their tears are poor quality. It’s a common and often chronic problem, especially in older adults.
 

Preventive Self-Care

Before we delve into more serious dry eye treatment options, here are a few simple self-care options that can manage minor cases of dry eye.

  • Blink regularly when reading or staring at a computer screen for a long time.

  • Make sure there’s adequate humidity in the air at work and at home.

  • Wear sunglasses outside to reduce sun and wind exposure. Wraparound glasses are best.

  • Take supplements with essential fatty acids as these may decrease dry eye symptoms.

  • Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water each day to avoid dehydration.

  • Find out if any of your prescriptions have dry eye as a side effect and if so, see if you can take an alternative.
     

Artificial Tears

For mild cases of dry eyes, the best option is over-the-counter eye drops. Here are a few tips for selecting the right one:

  • Low viscosity – These artificial tears are watery. They often provide quick relief with little or no blurring of your vision, but their effect can be brief, and sometimes you must use these drops frequently to get adequate relief.

  • High viscosity – These are more gel-like and provide longer-lasting lubrication. However, these drops can cause significant blurring of your vision for several minutes. For this reason, high-viscosity artificial tears are recommended at bedtime.
     

Prescription Dry Eye Treatments

There are several prescriptions that treat dry eye differently. Your eye doctor can advise the best option for your situation.

  • Contact Lenses – There are specialty contact lenses that deliver moisture to the surface of the eye. They’re called scleral lenses or bandage lenses.

  • Antibiotics– If your eyelids are inflamed, this can prevent oil glands from secreting oil into your tears. Your doctor may recommend antibiotics to reduce inflammation.


Myopia Management

Myopia is a very common issue throughout the world. Approximately 1/3 of the population in the United States have the condition and over 90% of several East Asian countries suffer from myopia. While myopia may seem like such a common condition that it shouldn’t be cause for concern, it is actually associated with several very serious conditions that can threaten one’s ability to see.
 

What is Myopia

Myopia, more commonly known as nearsightedness, is a condition where individuals are able to see objects that are close to them but may have difficulty distinguishing things at a distance, such as road signs or leaves on a tree. These individuals often squint at objects that are further away to try and help bring them into focus.

Currently, there is no known cure for myopia and recent studies suggest that the more advanced your myopia gets, the more serious the effects can be on your vision. This has led eye professionals to look for ways to slow the progression of myopia in children and young adults as the eyes typically change more rapidly during this time and slowing down myopia progression during these years has a huge payoff. 

 

Types of Myopia Control

There are a few different treatments for myopia that have proven to be effective in a number of studies. Of course, to ensure you find the most effective choice for you, be sure to visit with your eye doctor so they can review your case and recommend the best options for you.


Ortho-K | Ortho-K or Orthokeratology is one practice being used to slow down the progression of myopia. Ortho-K utilizes a special rigid gas-permeable contact lens that is placed into the eyes just before you go to bed. This hard lens helps to gently hold your eye in the proper shape throughout the night. Then when you wake up in the morning and remove the lenses, your eye continues to maintain that shape. This means that people who are nearsighted can see clearly throughout the day, even without wearing contact lenses or glasses. This approach is often preferred for athletes or other active individuals.

Atropine Eye Drops | One of the thoughts about the progression of myopia, is that it is associated with eye strain. The additional stresses that are placed on the eye when straining push the eye further out of its proper shape. Atropine eye drops are specifically designed to help stop the eye from straining and help the muscles relax. Atropine is similar to the eye drops that are used when you get your eyes dilated but lasts throughout the entire day rather than just a few hours. Atropine dilates the pupil of the eye and prevents them from closing too tightly and limiting your vision. This treatment has been shown to be especially effective in slowing the progression of myopia in children.
 
Multifocal Eyeglasses and Contact Lenses | These specialty contact lenses are designed to help reduce strain on the eyes. They have shown great success at slowing the progression of myopia over a three-year period when compared with individuals who wore a standard prescription lens.
 

Overview

If you notice that your child is having a difficult time seeing objects that are far away, contact us today to schedule an appointment. Many parents notice changes in their children with their behavior or grades at school, their ability to play sports, or that they may even be pulling back from playing with friends. Treating myopia as quickly as possible can help to reduce your child’s chances of developing a serious eye condition that can threaten their ability to see the world around them. Call today and schedule an appointment to see how we can help your child.


Eye Safety Tips

The eye is a very delicate and fragile part of the body. According to one study on distance vision, about 188.5 million individuals are said to suffer from mild vision impairment, 217 million individuals suffer from moderate and severe impairment while 36 million individuals are blind. For near vision impairment, there are about 826 million individuals suffering. In all, there are about 1.3 billion people living with one of these impairments.

While a lot of people are aware that the eyes are an integral part of the body system, most of them do not pay very close attention to taking care of their eyes and are, in essence, taking it for granted. As the saying goes, “You don't know what you have until it's gone," and therefore, we have decided to take the necessary steps to provide you with information on how to best to take care of your eyesight.
Below are ways to keep your eyes safe:

1. Eat Healthy

Eating a healthy diet is a very integral part of keeping the eyes healthy. Nutrients like lutein, vitamins E and C, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc may help in preventing eye-related problems like cataracts and macular degeneration. These nutrients can be found in vegetables like collards, kale, spinach, fish like tuna, salmon, and halibut, as well as in beans, nuts, eggs, oranges, pork, and oysters.

Besides eating meals rich in nutrients, it is equally important to eat a well-balanced diet. Obesity can cause diabetes and other medical conditions, leading to blindness or glaucoma. Obesity is also regarded as the chief cause of blindness across the globe which should raise a red flag to watch your weight. You can always visit your doctor to get help with drafting a healthy eating plan.

2. Know your family's medical history

Eye issues are usually hereditary which is why it is important to collect a family history on any diseases that may affect eye health and then report them to your eye doctor. This will help to determine your chances of any future eye conditions as well as come up with an action plan for future eye exams.

3. Avoid Smoking

Smoking, in general, is harmful to your overall health. In regards to your eyes, it can cause macular degeneration, destroy the optic nerve, and cause cataracts. It can even lead to vision loss. Quitting smoking if you already smoke, or better yet, not even starting, will be extremely beneficial to your overall health and wellness.

4. Wear Sunglasses

Sunglasses are more than just fashion accessories, they are vital in protecting the eyes from ultraviolet rays emitted from the sun. UV rays can cause macular degeneration and even cataracts which is why it is important to wear sunglasses that protect against 99% -100% of UV rays.

5. Obey workplace safety precautions

It is important we wear protective eye gears when engaging in sporting activities or jobs that could be harmful to the eyes. Such eyewear includes safety goggles, glasses, and helmets. Most of these protectors are from polycarbonates, which is a much stronger material than plastic.

6. Rest your eyes

Just like our bodies, the eyes also need rest to perform optimally. Depriving yourself of adequate sleep and rest can have an adverse effect on the eyes. During the use of the computer, remember to rest the eyes for at least 20 seconds after every 20 minutes by looking away from the screen. Doing this will reduce eye strain.

7. Visit your eye doctor regularly

Getting regular eye exams is one of the most important things you can do for your eye health. Conditions like glaucoma are much easier to treat if they are discovered early so don’t stay far from your doctor. 
 

First Aid

Eye injuries can happen at any time and it is good to know how to handle such emergencies until you can reach a medical professional.

  • If you get hit on the eyes, you should put a shield like a Styrofoam cup on the bone of the eyes. Avoid putting pressure on the eye

  • If something enters your eyes, avoid removing it as it may lead to the tearing of important tissue in the eyes. A Styrofoam cup would also do the job here until you can get to a medical professional.

  • In the case of a black eye, putting an ice pack on the eye will help to reduce bruising and swelling

  • If it’s a chemical burn, rinse the eyes with clean water for about 30 minutes, holding your head beneath the tap. While rinsing, keep your eyes wide open, rolling your eyeballs in all directions so as to ensure the water gets to every part.
     

So give some of these tips a try and remember to schedule regular eye exams. Prevention is always a better alternative to trying to find a cure.


How Your Eyes Change with Age

As our bodies age, it is normal to notice that there are decreases in our ability to complete certain functions that may have been natural for us in our youth. Just like our physical strength, the strength of your eyes can also weaken over time.

Several different factors influence how each of us will experience aging. Your genetics can play a pivotal role. Understanding your family history and making sure to communicate this with your health professional can be a great way to monitor changes and spot early signs and symptoms. Exposure to certain chemicals or environments or specific trauma to our eyes can also have an impact on how our eyes age. While the eyes can often recover from traumatic injury or exposure, they may still have a detrimental effect on your vision as you age.

Knowing what age you start to have an increased risk of certain diseases or eye conditions can help you to be prepared when you meet with your optometrist. Here are some of the most common ailments that people experience when they age.
 

Presbyopia

Once you are over 40 years old you may experience a loss in vision at close range. Presbyopia is a normal condition that occurs due to the hardening of the lens in your eye. In the early stages, you can often compensate for small changes to your vision, but as the condition progresses, you will likely need a corrective lens, or choose a surgical procedure. such as Lasik, corneal inlays, refractive lens exchange, and conductive keratoplasty.
 

Cataracts

Cataracts are technically a disease of the eye. However, they are so frequently seen in patients as they age, that they are classified as a normal part of aging. While almost half of the population over 65 have cataracts, that number increases even more by age 70. While it can be frightening to begin losing your vision, cataract surgery is extremely successful and can restore up to 100% of the lost vision. If you notice even small changes to your vision, it is smart to talk to your doctor. Cataract surgery is best performed when the cataracts are small and can be more easily removed.
 

Macular Degeneration

This disease is the leading cause of blindness in senior citizens in the United States.
 

Glaucoma

The risk of developing glaucoma generally begins when you are in your 40’s with a near one percent chance and increases throughout the decades with a twelve percent by the time you are in your 80’s.
 

Diabetic Retinopathy

Individuals who have diabetes may be affected by diabetic retinopathy. This disease occurs when blood sugar levels are elevated for an extended period that causes damage to the eye. This damage may lead to permanent vision loss. Americans with diabetes over the age of 40 are at an increased risk, with about 40 percent of people with diabetes over this age displaying some degree of diabetic retinopathy.